KUWAIT: Kuwait Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al- Sabah (top) and Kuwaiti Minister of Justice Yaqoub Al-Sanea attend a parliament session at the Abdullah Al-Salem hall in Kuwait’s National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: Kuwait Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al- Sabah (top) and Kuwaiti Minister of Justice Yaqoub Al-Sanea attend a parliament session at the Abdullah Al-Salem hall in Kuwait’s National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The first National Assembly working session in the new term got underway yesterday with fireworks over Iran as Shiite and Sunni MPs clashed over the Iran-linked terror cell and Tehran’s relations with Kuwait. MPs Faisal Al-Kundari, Askar Al-Enezi and others were angered by remarks made by Shiite MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan about Iran and the alleged terrorist cell accused of plotting with Iran and Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah to carry out attacks on Kuwait.

Duwaisan praised the level of national unity following the June suicide bombing against the Shiite mosque, killing 26 worshippers but added that unity disappeared after the busting of the Iran-linked cell. He criticized the role played by the media claiming that the government let newspapers use unauthentic sources for their news on the issue. He said there are people who are attempting to involve Kuwait into unnecessary battles and criticized some statements made at public rallies.

He said this is not good for Kuwait and wondered why the government has remained silent. MP Kundari said that Duwaisan was attempting to simplify the impact of the Iran-linked cell. Duwaisan then accused Kundari of trying to trigger a sectarian debate. MP Enezi said he cannot accept that some MPs exploit the sectarian feelings at the expense of national issues. At this stage, Enezi and Duwaisan exchanged heated arguments about relations with Iran with the latter insisting that he did not speak about Iran in that way.

Enezi and a number of other MPs said they wanted a clarification from the Amiri Diwan about remarks made on whether Iran is a friendly nation. Twenty-five Kuwaitis and an Iranian are on trial on charges of plotting with Iran and Hezbollah to carry out attacks on Kuwait. Islamist MP Hamdan Al-Azemi also clashed with Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti over Dashti’s alleged campaign against Kuwait abroad. Dashti denied the allegations.

MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji, meanwhile said that investigations have proved that all explosives used in the mosque bombing and those busted with the terror cell came from abroad and accordingly the government must raise border protection and customs inspection procedures. He said that investigations have shown that an Iranian diplomat at Tehran’s embassy in Kuwait was the supervisor of the cell and this diplomat has been deported.

The heated arguments came during the debate over the Amiri address made at the opening of the National Assembly term last week. During his speech, MP Duwaisan criticized what he described as criticism against Christians in Kuwait for barring them from getting Kuwaiti citizenship. He said this must be rectified. MP Dashti said that he will submit a draft law calling to end all forms of racial discrimination in Kuwait.

MP Saleh Ashour criticized the government failure to prevent illegal fund raising campaigns which he claimed – the proceeds had been sent to terrorist groups. He also criticized what he described as attempts by the government to curb freedoms under the pretext of safeguarding security. MP also focused on the economic issue and the Amir’s call for diversifying the sources of income. MP Saadoun Hammad called for building more refineries and called on the Oil Ministry to play a role in diversifying the economy.

He also said Kuwaiti reserves invested abroad posted a return of just 9 percent and added that it should be invested in a better way to raise the return to as high as 20 percent. Ashour criticized the government because it has not succeeded in cutting spending and warned that as a result of the government policy, taxes are expected to be imposed to make people pay for the deficit. The National Assembly also decided to extend for three more months the investigation of the committee probing alleged violations at Kuwait’s Investment Office in London. The Assembly will continue the debate today.